SBD/Issue 171/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

An Itch To Scratch: Pats Plan NFL's First Lottery Partnership

Patriots Plan To Develop First Licensed NFL
Instant Ticket In Partnership With State Lottery
The Patriots Thursday unveiled plans to develop the "first licensed NFL instant ticket" in a partnership with the Massachusetts State Lottery, "just days after league owners voted to allow teams to partner with lotteries across the country," according to Jenn Abelson of the BOSTON GLOBE. Sports marketing analysts note that the promotion marks a departure for the NFL, "which has been particularly conservative about any affiliation with betting or gambling, and previously banned team logos on state lottery tickets." NBA and MLB teams "have partnered for several years with the lottery" -- the Red Sox in '06 became the first MLB team to offer a scratch ticket, while the Celtics "have also had scratch ticket promotions." Analysts suggest that "some of the NFL's sensitivity over the lottery stems from past gambling scandals with football players and the fact that professional football is by far the most bet on [sport] in Las Vegas." But Patriots Exec Dir of Media Relations Stacey James said that the team has "no concerns about the lottery promotion and any affiliation with gambling." James: "It's not a casino where you can wager on outcomes of games. It's a scratch ticket that you're plying for an opportunity to win dollars and various prizes." Abelson notes earlier this month, the NFL expressed opposition to Delaware's plans to allow sports betting. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week said that "there was a distinction between Delaware's sports gambling and the state lottery tickets" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/22). The Patriots tickets are scheduled to go on sale prior to the start of the '09 season, and club President Jonathan Kraft said, "We know it will be beneficial for the Patriots, the Massachusetts State Lottery and for local communities" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/22).

TAKING FLIGHT: Pennsylvania Lottery spokesperson Stephanie Weyant Thursday said that state officials are "'in discussions' with both the Eagles and Steelers about the possibility of partnering on an instant ticket game this fall." Weyant said that the "hope is a new NFL game would mirror the lottery's instant games" with the Phillies and Pirates, which started in '08, in that it would offer winners "both instant cash prizes and a shot at 'dream prize packages' ranging from hats and jerseys to season tickets and trips to training camps" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/22). The Lions and Vikings reportedly also are "talking with their respective state lotteries," and the New York Lottery is talking to the Bills, Giants and Jets (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/22).

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